Bubonicon is admittedly a very small SFF convention located in Albuquerque, NM. But this has it’s perks. While I was waiting to check into my room Friday, I was about 5 feet from George R. R. Martin, famous for his Wild Cards series and his series Song of Ice and Fire, as he chatted with friends and made lunch plans. A young man came up and asked for his photo and he was very cool about. Perhaps I should get out of my shy polite stalker mode and move to polite upfront fan?
One of the things I like so much about this small convention is how cool everyone is. It truly is a friendly atmosphere. I had 2 backpacks of books plus my clothes and a little icechest with fruit and yogurt. A guy from Final Sword Productions, one of the dealers selling fiction, RPGs, minatures, & other things, was very awesome to keep an eye on my stuff by the door while I parked the car. It’s stuff like that that truly makes the weekend incredible.
Upon checking into the con, I got my little swag bag with schedule and my little hospital grade wrist band. I missed the badges, but I understood that this was way cheaper and simpler for the staff. Still, the fact that it was completely shower safe didn’t quite make up for the fact that it was an irritating piece of plastic. Once checked in to the motel and the con, I had nearly 2 hours to kill until the first panel. I found the ice machine and explored the cable TV selections, neither of which we have at home on the farm. I was more impressed with the ice machine. Have commercials gotten incredibly shorter in the 10 years since we had satellite TV or is it just me?
Anyhoo, the first panel was moderated by Ian Tregillis (author of Bitter Seeds). Entitled Should I Be Paranoid: Who’s Looking At Me?, it was a ramble about government and big business info gathering and what they have done with it and what they could do with it. Tregillis was joined by Craig Butler (overseeing post-production on RotGut), Josh Gentry (Editorial Director of SnackReads), and Joan Saberhagen (manages the literary estate of Fred Saberhagen). As the first panel on a Friday afternoon, it was pretty well attended. Once the panel starting discussing some small town issuing hunting licenses for surveillance drones, things really livened up. Overall, it was an interesting discussion about how much information is already out there (think about those shopper reward cards at the grocery store), how much of that info is with big business, and how much is government, and how much we (as a society) really care. A fun panel with lots of tidbits that have been in the headlines recently (think Snowden).
Up next for me was the panel Mutant Madness: Extraordinary Genes Run Wild, hosted by Victor Milan (who I know from his Wild Cards contribution). He was joined by artist Alan F. Beck, Susan Krinard (author of the Stone God series), S. M. Stirling (author of The Change series), and Walter Jon Williams (who I know from Hardwired – one of the best cyberpunk novels ever written). Of course with a panel title like that, the Wild Card series came up. There was much discussion about what scientists have been able to do in real life (glow in the dark mice anyone?) and then the various mechanisms in literature for coming up with mutants. Susan Krinard brought up her love of Wolverine from Xmen – she wants to be Wolverine. Hell, I want to be Wolverine.
Diana Rowland (author of the White Trash Zombies series) was the Toastmistress this year and the 30 minute opening ceremonies was basically the big room full of everyone, with all the guests sprinkled through the room. Rowland read off their names and some little tidbit about them and we all clapped, unless they weren’t present and then we made up some excuse for them (like they were at the bar). It was cute, fun, and more low key than I expected.
Lastly, I went to the 55 minutes with Daniel Abraham (author of The Dragon’s Path) and Ty Franck (who write epic SF under the name James S. A. Corey). They were incredibly funny. Part of this might be due to the near constant sleep deprivation Ty Franck lives under, but in any case they had the room laughing when they weren’t reading a section from a story submitted to a forthcoming anthology. Shortly before the session got started, authors Sam Sykes (author of Tome of the Undergates, one of my man’s favorite books) and Brent Weeks – Night Angel Trilogy rocks! – (along with his beautiful wife and tiny baby) popped into the room and sat 2 rows behind me. It was a small room. I was among greatness and yet still breathing. It was awesome. This session was over far too soon, and then I took this really crappy photo. On the other hand, it portrays just how animated the two were.
The talk by George R. R. Martin was completely full and I was beat from my day. I drove down from the farm (just over 2 hours) and I was up early since I live on said farm. Across the parking lot was Buca di Beppo and I ordered carry out Italian for dinner – which was a perfect way to tuck in for the evening.